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Fukasaku Trilogy [1968] [DVD]

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The breakout success of the fantastic Battle Royale resulted in long-overdue global recognition of the films of Kinji Fukasaku. This prolific Japanese filmmaker, who died in 2003, had already made himself a name in his home country as an auteur who favoured outrageous style and biting social commentary. This collection brings together three exciting and colourful early films from Japanese cinema s most exhilarating director. BLACKMAIL IS MY LIFE Tautly paced and fueled by a trendy soundtrack synthesis of whistled themes and electric rock, Blackmail Is My Life centers on a quartet of young daredevil hipsters who discover blackmail as a means to enjoy the booming economy from which they've been excluded. These rebellious youths tread a deadly line by blackmailing both sides of society- namely the Yakuza kingpins and top government officials. Blackmail Is My Life is a bloody wake-up call to Japanese culture and budding criminals and a perfect example of the director working in his prime. 90 mins approx, 1968 BLACK ROSE MANSION A feverishly perverse 1969 film noir oddity starring female impersonator Akihiro Maruyama. When wealthy Kyohei hires singer 'Black Rose' to perform in his exclusive men's club, he gets more than he bargains for when she attracts scores of homicidal past lovers. The film takes a bizarre twist when Kyohei's son falls victim to the femme fatale's unique charm. 90 mins approx, 1969 IF YOU WERE YOUNG If You Were Young highlights the other side of post-war Japanese prosperity, focusing on the throngs of young people who missed out on the boom. We follow a group of young men that can't seem to get ahead, despite their willingness to try. Then one hits upon a plan - to work together to save for a dump truck and thus become independent contractors and be their own bosses at last. Ultimately life presents obstacles: jail for one, violence at the hands of the police for another and a girlfriend and subsequent children for the third. An early Kinji Fukasaku gem that imports the freewheeling style of the French New Wave and the hip detachment of American noir. 89 mins approx, 1970

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